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Managing Marketing: Smart Agency Solutions To Media Challenges

Mark_Jarrett

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Mark Jarrett is the Chief Executive Officer of PHD Media Group Australia and shares some of the complex challenges facing advertisers and their media agencies and the approach PHD has taken in developing and sharing their innovative perspective to those problems and implementing solutions. He also discusses the industry initiative into developing a cross-media measurement solution and the more interesting work of Karen Nelson-Field into cross-media engagement.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing media marketing and advertising with industry thought leaders and practitioners. Today, I’m sitting down with Mark Jarrett, Chief Executive Officer PHD Media Group in Australia, welcome Mark.

Mark:

Thanks Darren. Thanks for having me.

Darren:

Look, PHD for me is a very distinct media offering in that you seem to be the smart boys and girls on the block. Do you think that’s a reasonable positioning from your perspective?

Mark:

I don’t think we’re necessarily the smart people on the block because everyone’s smart, it’s just how you approach the market, how you approach problems that’s maybe a bit different. So, we certainly believe and focus on the upfront thing of things.

So, what’s the strategy, what’s the innovative idea, what’s the thing that’s going to make a genuine difference to a client problem because innovation, great ideas are going to sell more things than trying to win the incremental battle of making things 1% cheaper or different at the bottom end.

Darren:

Okay. But even in what you say then, it is actually quite focused on things like strategy and innovation and solving the problem. Whereas a lot of conversation in media has been and continues to be things about trading and planning and who’s buying better. And it’s definitely been at the sort of money-transaction exchange rather than the problem-solving part.

Mark:

Yeah, and I think that’s because the money transaction stage is something that’s easy to measure and you can make a black and white judgment as a client, as an auditor.

And some of the things that I was talking about then are much more difficult to measure in absolute terms, and something that’s more difficult to measure becomes something that people don’t want to talk about, or they don’t want to try and measure.

And they’ll bring it back to a base that’s easier to measure which gets you a result and an outcome at the end of a meeting or presentation, but maybe doesn’t always get you the best result.

Darren:

But in some ways, it’s focusing on implementation rather than the problem solving, isn’t it?

Mark:

Well, it’s a shame, isn’t it?

Darren:

I get your point. I get the point that just because something’s easier to do is why people are focused on that. But in actual fact, you could buy the cheapest media in the world. You could be the hardest negotiator, but if you’re not actually doing the right thing there’s no point, is there?

Mark:

Well, there isn’t. I think at the extreme and you sometimes get the classic, the tail is wagging the dog. The outcome that people sometimes are after is to get the cheapest media, which has no relation to selling the most product and surely as a client, you should be trying to sell the most product to have an outcome for your business, not media outcome. It should be about a business outcome.

And look, you don’t need to be the best negotiators to buy the cheapest media. You just need to buy terrible media in bad placements where people can’t see it.

Darren:

Well, that’s true, isn’t it?

Mark:

Yeah.

Darren:

There is plenty of let’s say, crappy inventory out there that can be bought relatively cheaply, or even you can take crappy inventory and package it up and make it look good which some people have done as well.

I won’t get you to comment on that, but one of the interesting things is that, you would have to say during your career, media has become more challenging because it’s become more complex, hasn’t it? Audiences have become complex, channels have become more complex. There was a time when there were a handful of media channels, now there’s hundreds of media channels.

Mark:

Yeah, hugely more complex. And it’s probably made media more important than it was. I’d certainly say when I started out my career, the limited numbers of choices that were available to a media planner or a media strategist meant that there was so much that you could do for the client, but ultimately, it was 90% about the creative work. Strong creative was what was going to make all of the difference.

I still think creative is more important than the media in terms of the final outcome to clients. But I would say what the media agency does and the channels and the routes to market available are now a huge part of the mix rather than maybe only sort of 10 or 15% of the mix a long time ago.

But, as well as all the additional complexity, accountability, especially in the digital space and others that’s come with it, I think that complexity has also clouded people’s judgment and understanding of media as well, because it’s become so complex within itself that it’s sometimes hard for clients who shouldn’t be spending that much of their time on media to really understand where the right areas to probe are.

Darren:

Because the other thing that’s changed along the way is that media was traditionally about getting awareness, wasn’t it? The days of television when television was the sort of go-to media channel even in the UK, have sort of been usurped by the fact that now media can actually be used at every point in the purchase process, especially digital search.

Mark:

And all the way through to e-commerce, and obviously e-commerce is the hot topic at the moment as we’ve experienced four or five years growth in the last four or five months through COVID. But I think yes, media can be used much more through the funnel holistically.

But I still think fundamentally, its predominant role is still to drive that top of the funnel, fill the funnel, create the awareness against the occasional and light users, and then convert them through that funnel. Because every single marketing science piece that you look at shows that the Ehrenberg Bass theory is just so applicable at every level of marketing, you need to get that exposure out there to create that conversion into your digital sites.

Darren:

The only reason I boarded up Mark is that I talk to people that are virtually spending all their money at the bottom of the funnel. They call it digital media because they’re basically bombing conversion through paid search and the like, where they’re converting people that are at that point in the purchase process or making a decision, and they call that media, right?

And yet you’re sitting here saying, yes, well, in actual fact, it’s actually more at the top of the funnel and yes, we facilitate it. So, it seems to me that depending on whether it’s scale sophistication, strategic insight, there’s almost like two different approaches there, isn’t it?

Mark:

Well, there could be, but I don’t think there should be two different approaches there. I think it has to be both; both is the answer. I think some advertisers will maybe only be at the top of the funnel probably almost no one now — but there will be a huge amount just at that bottom part. But I think the problem for them is that they’re optimising themselves to a much smaller share than they deserve.

So yes, it’s optimised to the nth degree of everything, but if you doubled your base and doubled your sales and it was 1% less efficient, you’d probably still be extremely happy. And I think what you’re seeing if you look at some of the new categories that are growing, is you’re seeing some of those online e-commerce retailers that have always only played in the digital space actually becoming more broadcast because they’re seeing an opportunity to massively grow their business. So, it has to be both, yeah.

Darren:

That’s one of tricks, isn’t it? That’s one of the tricks that search has pulled off, is to make you think that every customer is waiting there and that you don’t have to keep topping it up because they’ll just keep bringing it to you. And on last click attribution, that’s the only place you should be spending your money.

Mark:

They’ve got a better measurement system, but just because you’ve got a better measurement system doesn’t mean it’s better. It needs to work with something that’s feeding people to it. So, there’s the whole dual screening thing that everyone’s familiar with, that you’re watching the TV and you’re ordering whatever you’re ordering through Google.

You’re not ordering that because of Google, you’re ordering it because it’s on a broadcast medium and then you’ll then react to that. But yes, when you then look at the analytics, if you’re not viewing it holistically, you attribute all of that to your search spend and then keep doubling it.

Darren:

And then keep putting money in until…

Mark:

Yes, keep putting money in there…….

Darren:

Until suddenly the return on investment starts to dry up and then you scream, “What’s gone wrong?”

Mark:

But you can probably still make it more and more efficient, but with a smaller, smaller actual base of customers, which is a shame.

Darren:

Now, you mentioned before, e-commerce, we’ve gone through a phenomenal change in the last six months with the pandemic. And not just retailers are sort of accelerating it, but brands are looking at ways of having that direct purchasing relationship as well.

What comes with that of course is a huge amount of behavioral data as well, that brands can then use and retailers can use. Is that the other big complexity that’s happened in media? But let’s say two decades ago even, there was probably two or three sources of readership and viewer data. Now, there’s thousands of sources, aren’t there?

Mark:

Yeah, which is always viewed as a blessing but can be a curse at the same time because who’s going to properly look at thousands of sources of data by tomorrow and make a decision based on that?

So, I think people really understanding what they want to get out of their data, understanding that they’re never going to have the perfect answer, but making sure they’re really clear on what the next step on a particular roadmap that they’re trying to take to improve what they’re doing rather than just looking at everything as crucially important. But it takes investment as well.

So, I think one of the real paradoxes of the way the whole digital and data ecosystem has grown over the years is the assumption that technology equals efficiency, equals less people and less jobs. And it’s true in some industries, but in our industry in particular, and by being so much more efficient, having so much more information, understanding how to target people in a better more efficient way — we’re actually adding to that whole process collectively in terms of the amount of analysis we do.

And I think that there has to be a balance between what you’re looking at, what you’re getting out there, versus just trying to analyse everything for the sake of it.

Darren:

And also, we’re starting to see more and more application of things like artificial intelligence, AI to grind through a lot of that mass data and at least put it into formats where smart people can actually make sense of it and get insights from it, aren’t we? I mean, that’s the next big evolution.

Mark:

Yeah, data visualisation is just so crucial to that because if you can’t pull out all the information in some way that’s meaningful, it’s just so difficult to make something of it in a useful way. But yes, the growth of data is great, but only if it’s used in a way that’s going to lead to something that you’re specifically trying to do.

I think there is always a danger of people over relying on data to look at all sorts of measurements that are perhaps either deflecting from what they’re actually trying to do, or just it’s a bit of red herring, yeah.

Darren:

Yeah. Now, going back to the idea — and I know you said, “No, there’s lots of smart people” — but the idea that PHD is the sort of smart media operation. And I say that because, Mark Holden and is he global strategy or something? He’s got some very grand title…

Mark:

Chief Global Strategy Officer, we’ll go with that.

Darren:

Well, because he was in Sydney?

Mark:

He was, yeah.

Darren:

At PHD, and wrote a number of books. And PHD is one of the few media agencies that seems to have this commitment to exploring ideas and sharing those ideas. Because, I’ve got that collection of books. In my office, there’s almost half a shelf that started to fill up with…

Mark:

It’s about eight books, nine books that have been published?

Darren:

Yeah, at least. So, yeah, that’s quite a substantial investment… what is it do you think about the culture of the agency that drives that?

Mark:

I think if we’re looking to drive genuine innovation to clients, you need to have your own opinion on things and things that are emerging and things that are new and different and worthwhile. I don’t think you can have that if you’re always adapting to the client needs.

So, it’s this client wants this, so we’ll work in a way that their marketing department works, which is push-ups that you need to do and is a great model. But I think having your own clear opinion and way of working that appeals massively to half the people out there, and maybe it doesn’t appeal to half the people out there, is a really good way to go. But I think also if you’re engaging an agency, you want smart people who have a clear opinion about something that’s relevant now that can have an effect on their business and change their business.

So, a few of the things that we’ve done have been around AI and machine learning and how then AI is actually being adapted and merged into humans. Two of our staff unforced did get themselves micro-chipped for one book that we launched. But that was completely voluntarily, I can assure you of that. But one that’s really worked for us is we did a book on challenger types.

Darren:

Yeah, Overthrow.

Mark:

Yeah, Overthrow, and we’ve done Overthrow II, it was the one that was so successful that we wrote a second book on the same subject. And that’s just really engaged clients and viewers about Overthrow and challenger brands, it’s about what it’s going to be, something that’s really small and how does that work for maybe a larger brand.

But broadly, every brand has a challenger mentality or type to really engage with consumers. So, you think of some of the biggest brands out there like Apple, they were and are a challenger brand in the way that they portray themselves.

Darren:

Yeah, I think it’s a misnomer for people to think about challenger brands as being small. Challenger brands can be small and they become challengers because they’re taking on a bigger competitor. But the big brains that build a culture of a challenger are the ones that are constantly keeping ahead. I mean, Amazon has to be seen as one of the quintessential large challenger brands, even to the point of view of having a CEO saying to the shareholders, “No dividends for you, I’m reinvesting back in the business.”

Mark:

And I think the context where you said a challenger brand is challenging competitors. I think that’s one part of it, challenging bigger competitors. But a challenger brand could be challenging a way in which society works or an entire industry. There’s lots of different ways that a challenger brand can manifest itself. It’s not necessarily just about I want to move from number six to number two in my particular market or niche.

Darren:

And that Overthrow work started with a collaboration with Adam Morgan who wrote Eating The Big Fish, which was the sort of the start of the idea of challenger brands, wasn’t it?

Mark:

It was, yeah. So, yeah, we worked with Adam Morgan on that book and he even came back to help us with the second one as well.

Darren:

Exactly. Now, at the second one, you have, in fact online, you have a survey or a quiz that you can do to work out what sort of challenger brand you are. I’ll admit that I’m an enlightened zagger. That’s my challenger brand. And not surprisingly, it’s also the challenger brand of the company TrinityP3, but did you do the quiz?

Mark:

Yeah, so, I’m a people’s champion. So, it’s all focused on — it’s about promoting everyone internally, giving everyone a fair go. I think of the kind of core values in there. The interesting thing about that quiz was I was like, “Oh, it’s another one of those quizzes where they just spit out an answer.”

Darren:

Like a Facebook quiz.

Mark:

Yeah, and I did it two or three times and it kept giving the same answer. But our finance director got some quirky challenger type, I can’t remember which one, and he’s quite focused on numbers. So, he was outraged that he was too much of a challenger.

But he did it like six times it still kept coming out with the same answer. So, Mark Holden, who I’m sure put that together has done a pretty good psychological job on putting those questions together.

Darren:

Well, I have to say it actually was incredibly insightful because it put a framework to what I then reflected on was a way of thinking and behaving. When everyone else is zigging, I’m always zagging. So, that’s what the enlightened…

Mark:

Yeah, I think that’s probably true Darren.

Darren:

The enlightened zagger, so, I really appreciate that.

Mark:

And he’s actually good. I mean, everyone talks about doing it themselves, but it’s actually really good to do with your brands or if you’re a large company with different brands or sub brands to see how they fit together or how they’re going to behave.

So, we certainly use it a lot with clients in terms of actually work-shopping their brands and the messages and the ways they want to approach the market.

Darren:

So that’s on overthrow2.com, I think it’s called. It has its own website, and you just find your way to the survey to actually find out. And as we said before, I mean, it works for anyone. It works for small brands, it works for startups, it works for major brands. It works for companies that have multiple brands. It’s a terrific way of getting you to sort of review or refocus on what the core driver of your business is.

Mark:

And I think also what comes out in terms of the survey is gray, and it might be right, it might be wrong. But I think what’s more is that you’re then having a conversation and thinking about it and you can stick with what comes out there.

But you suddenly move from what can sometimes be a difficult space to really work at how you’re going to have that conversation, set some real clear frameworks that have the conversation, start thinking about it, work out what you’re going to do. And the catalyst for all of that is what’s probably more important than anything else.

Darren:

So come on Mark, that’s pretty smart, isn’t it?

Mark:

Well, I mean, you’re….

Darren:

It’s okay to say, “Yes, we’re smart.” Stop being so humble. Oh Lord, it’s so hard to be humble.

Mark:

I never said we weren’t smart. I just said there were plenty of smart people out there as well.

Darren:

Okay. Alright, that’s true. Well, one of the big challenges that the industry, especially in Europe with WFA is confronting — and they’ve called it the Holy Grail, which I think is a bit of overselling, but the Holy Grail for me….

Mark:

Probably it’s hard to find as well, and so you might be accurate.

Darren:

Is cross-media measurement. And this is something that’s been around for years. I mean, people have talked about having a methodology for measuring across various media channels, haven’t they?

Mark:

Yes. For 20 years or more people have talked about it. And I think many people have got halfway to solving it in different ways. So, we’ve got a product that can do cross-media in terms of reach, and with client-data can do cross-media in terms of the effect it has on client measurements.

But plenty of other agencies will have ways in which you can look at reach from that perspective as well. And certainly, phase one of the WFA project is about that cross-media reach. So, which I think quite a lot of people have kind of cracked that one already.

Phase two is significantly more ambitious.

Darren:

Before we go into two, let’s get back to one because I get the feeling reading the publicity. I haven’t read the Ideon pages in the framework that they’ve put forward. And that framework is now being sort of tested and implemented by the ANA in the US and ISBA in the UK.

But it seems that they wanted to get a universal platform. They want to get a universal methodology, cause what Joe said is agencies have their own solutions. But it’s almost like they’re trying to come up with a unified approach to cross-media measurement, isn’t it?

Mark:

Yeah, but then if you then look into the detail, it’s still then a set of principles that then need to be implemented at every single…

Darren:

Yeah, it’s a framework.

Mark:

Every single local market level. So, you still end up with a whole group of different ones.

Darren:

A wider shade of pale.

Mark:

You will do. And I mean, which is the phase — that’s not that complicated. It’s like has somebody seen that message in a medium of any particular type. It’s only when you get to phase two and you talk about the impact of that, that it becomes a very different conversation.

So, phase one makes a lot of sense, but I feel that that’s just standardising something that already exists in many different shapes and forms.

Darren:

Yeah. I also was interested that they picked up framing this around GDPR and that part of this is privacy for consumers, that it was going to solve the problem of flooding consumers with advertising.

Mark:

It’s frequency capping, yeah.

Darren:

And did you pick up on that?

Mark:

Well, I think frequency capping is good. It’s good because it doesn’t piss people off when they see the same ad 47 times. It’s good because advertisers aren’t wasting money. So, there’s some major wins there.

But I think if people just frequency capped an individual media with conversations with that particular media owner or that particular channel, you’d get 95% of the way there anyway. The frequency issue isn’t that I’ve seen it three times on TV and three times online, it’s when you’re seeing the same ad 47 times on the same feed, on the same channel, because nobody’s paying attention to that. That’s when it’s a problem.

So, I think that’s an aside that should be addressed at a much more basic level.

Darren:

And at the same time that we’ve got cross-media measurement happening, there’s sort of a local move around measuring engagement and cost per thousand on engagement. Karen Nelson-Field’s written a book, The Attention Economy and How Media Works.

Mark:

Yeah, and look, there’s a whole heap of common sense in there that Karen’s then turned common sense into — she’s measured the common sense. So, a lot of it is if you’re on 25% of the screen and only half of your ads on 25% of the screen, it’s not as good as if you are on the whole screen.

But it does go into more depth than that in terms of, it looks at the relative attention people are paying to pieces, and just challenges the concept that when a second ad comes on TV, or through your Facebook feed or whatever else it is, that you suddenly pause the entire world around you and you stare at that screen and analyze it for 30 seconds. Which I think when we’re reviewing and developing, we often view it in that way, even though that’s not the way the consumer views it.

But it does show that as soon as people are paying partial attention, you’re actually getting a huge kick in terms of the way people engage with it. There’s some interesting things about branding and how much branding should be on the screen or not. Which I’m sure if you read in detail, that would be at odds to the creative purity of the message that certainly some of my creative friends would rather in terms of the brand, just being the bit at the end that pays for it, as opposed to…

Darren:

Yeah, “This message was brought to you by … oh what was the brand?”

Mark:

And look, because the research shows that people fill in the blanks. They’re filling in the blanks about, “I’m not sure what brand this is until the end.” So, if you actually tell them upfront, that can work as well. So, there’s a lot of common sense in there and there’s a lot of builds on some of the Ehrenberg-Bass work that was done a few years ago, that Karen was also involved in as well.

Darren:

Because there was a book — it would be almost more than 15 years ago called The Entertainment Economy and another one, The Attention Economy. Which said that one of the problems increasingly for anyone wanting to influence public discourse, was getting people’s attention.

The one thing that’s getting harder and harder to do is actually engage people. I mean, but we see long-form content. People sit down and stream Netflix programs for a weekend when they don’t have other commitments. And yet, advertising seems sometimes to have given up when we talk about six-second ads. It’s interesting, isn’t it?

Mark:

Well, yeah. Well, I guess it’s how important is advertising in people’s lives in the context of everything else. And the answer is not that. Like the latest innovation on this particular washing powder versus that awesome series on Netflix that’s going to keep me really fascinated and entertained for eight hours. That’s the relative choice that people are making.

So, I think it’s important to recognise that people are going to be receptive to your message briefly. And if you can make some sort of an impact there, then that’s going to affect their purchasing behaviour. And that’s why it’s so important to ensure that you’ve reached such a broad spectrum of people rather than we’ve got a beautiful message that reaches 4% of the population, our core buyers. Because A, they’re probably going to buy it anyway; B, there 20% of the people that actually buy your product and you’re missing out on the other 80%.

So, that broad reach piece in terms of how you engage with those people, even for as short as six seconds is really important. And that links back in the same sort of principle to how we were talking earlier about digital media research and last-click attribution, the need to feed the funnel more broadly to make sure that it’s actually getting fed holistically, and you’re not just optimising your creative message or your final conversion to death. So, it’s hugely efficient but you’ve got hardly anyone there.

Darren:

Yeah. Because what we’re seeing now is an increased challenge of being able to deliver the right message at the right time in the right environment as well.

Mark:

I think the challenge is scale. I think it’s easier than ever to deliver the right message at the right time.

Darren:

But then to do it at scale.

Mark:

Yes, because you can build audiences either with the tech giants with nine, for instance, with some of the products they’re bringing out, with specific builds that the agencies have in terms of data access as well.

So, you can build those specific audiences and you can deliver those right messages at the right time. But if you haven’t got scale, it suddenly becomes incredibly inefficient as well. So, I think that the scale is the challenge. It’s not hard to do the…

Darren:

The targeting and the delivery.

Mark:

The targeting. It’s doing it effectively at scale.

Darren:

And what about the component of engagement that comes down to environment, where those messages appear?

Mark:

Well, that then comes back to having intelligent smart people, actually doing your planning for you and thinking about the overall impact that your message is going to have. And also, the type of engagement you’re trying to deliver upon.

Are you trying to deliver awareness for a brand new thing that people don’t know anything about, or are you trying to get a specific message across about something that people already know? Because that’s going to change the type of medium and the way in which you’re going to want people to engage with that particular message.

Darren:

And even the content that’s appearing in that medium.

Mark:

Yes. The content is still the most important thing.

Darren:

Yeah. Because one of the things that I’ve noticed is a lot of the conversations, for instance, around, programmatic — is that it’s talking about the numbers; what’s the data telling us, how are we going to reach this audience and where are we going to reach?

But you don’t often hear in the conversation about, well, what’s the actual content that we’re going to be appearing in. It seems that in the use of technology to deliver scale, that sometimes the environment that it’s going to appear in, becomes secondary. Do you think that’s reasonable?

Mark:

I think yeah, I half agree with that in terms of I think the context or content that appears in, is hugely important. I think at the same time, if you’re having the right conversations, you can still develop white lists and blacklists of the content to ensure that you are appearing in the right sort of environments. There’s probably another add-on in terms of making it more premium again, but you can still further access more premium content in the programmatic space.

So, those conversations exist. You can deliver premium environments through the programmatic space, but you need to make sure that you’re engaging in those sort of conversations. And yes, too often, it does move back to a number’s only focus, but it doesn’t have to be, and it doesn’t have to be in the programmatic space either.

Darren:

Because a lot of people talk about math men or math people (let’s be inclusive) especially in media because so much of it is being data-informed. I prefer data-informed than data-driven. But data-informed. But there is still an art, isn’t there, to media?

Mark:

There is, I think there is a need for a lens on what all the considerations are of what the data is telling you. And somebody needs to put that together. Because if there wasn’t an art to it, it would be very easy to do a couple of runs: “This says 80%, therefore, let’s go and book that.”

And the level of innovation interest and engagement you’ll get from the consumers is going to be so, so limited. Whereas, if you put some real thought into it, you can create stuff that delivers as much as five times the level of ROI that just plunking in the right place will.

Darren:

You mentioned before about the importance of content as part of the equation. It’s not just about reaching an audience, it’s also serving up the right message and executed in the right way.

We’re seeing a trend towards creative agencies and media agencies working closer together, or even some not putting the toothpaste back in sort of the tube as Harold Mitchell said — you can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube. But certainly, we’re seeing a closer relationship. Do you think that consideration is driving it?

That there is increasing recognition that content and channel are inextricably linked? I mean, you said before you think content is slightly more important. But in actual fact, they’re totally co-dependent. I mean, there’s no point buying the right media if you put a nothing message and there’s no point having a great message if you’re buying the wrong media.

Mark:

Yeah, but I think if you make one of the best five ads of the year, it wouldn’t matter where the media….

Darren:

Well, then the industry will know all about it because the general public doesn’t care. Unless it’s funny, and then it goes onto TV or on to some online YouTube video that says the funniest commercials of 2020.

Mark:

Well, I think they are becoming more and more important to each other as opposed to the separate silos that potentially they had become. But fundamentally, there are so many more grey areas that all agencies are moving into needing to understand, that you can’t help, but start working in all those different areas.

So, I think it’s driven more by the depth and breadth of choice and the greyness of all the interaction and all the crossover as opposed to anything else. I think when it’s this or that, you maybe did one or the other, and that was it. But it’s just too complicated now for it to be that clear.

Darren:

Because one of the best models I’ve seen of putting the two back together is having the data collected and analysed upfront. You usually by a media agency because they’re infinitely more adept and used to collecting data and working with data. That then feeds into developing consumer insights, that then informs the creative process to come up with the content and the channels at the same time. Because it’s actually that focus on the consumer insights through data (data-informed) that actually puts the two back together, doesn’t it?

Mark:

It does. I worked on quite a progressive client 15 years ago that was integrating communications planning; “Let’s get the information, the data, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve, who we’re trying to achieve it with before we then go and draw all the pictures. So, we actually understand that we need to appeal to these people and they need to consume it in these channels. So, making a TV ad when we’re going to spend 90% of our money on outdoor for a simple thing is not the way forward.”

And that’s just on steroids now, 15 years later in terms of, we actually need to understand how that’s going to drive some sort of message all the way through a six-second level through search, through our e-commerce offering, whatever it is.

Darren:

Yeah, but it’s not as prevalent as you might think, is it?

Mark:

It’s not as prevalent as it should be, no.

Darren:

Yeah, but there’s still a lot of marketers, advertisers that need to be thinking about this as a way of working. I mean, I absolutely agree. And especially those that have rich customer data because that’s the starting point, is knowing your own customers and then going to your media agency and partnering with them to get all of the additional third-party data that they have access to. And then using that to then brief the creatives at the same time, which is selecting; what’s the general strategy?

Mark:

And being able to find people who are a bit like your customers as well, because they’re going to have a natural propensity to that. But also, to — and I’ll come back again, to still ensure that reach and that message gets to a broader audience beyond that as well.

But yes, I think the challenge with that though is time, resource, effort, pressures internally on so many other targets and elements that a marketer has to look after. It becomes very hard unless you’re extremely well-resourced to do everything in the right order, in the right way and hit all those deadlines.

So, yes, and it would be good if we saw more of that. But at the same time, there’s a lot of other pressures, and debating it is slightly different to making it happen in the real world.

Darren:

So, look, Mark, I’ve just realised that we’ve run out of time. It’s been a really smart conversation, I’m going to say that to you, and thank you very much.

Mark:

Thanks for having me.

Darren:

Just one question before you go; with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, what’s the one thing that keeps you awake at night?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media, and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

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    Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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